The impact of thinking about supportive relationships on interpersonal defensiveness. Does it matter who thinks, about whom, and in what way?
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SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2019-11-03
Final revision date: 2020-02-14
Acceptance date: 2020-03-25
Online publication date: 2020-04-27
Publication date: 2020-07-20
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2020;8(2):108-118
The aim of this study was to test the effects of thinking about supportive relationships on interpersonal defensiveness among participants with different levels of attachment security. The effects were examined depending on closeness with a visualized person and an ecosystem or egosystem perspective of thinking about him/her.

Participants and procedure:
After taking the bogus emotional intelligence test and completing the attachment questionnaire, the participants (N = 124) visual-ized an acquaintance or a close person, adopting the ecosystem or the egosystem perspective on thinking about him/her. Subse-quently the participants received unfavorable feedback on their bogus test results and completed measures of defensiveness in an anticipated conversation with the researcher.

The high-securely attached individuals reported less comfort in an anticipated conversation with the researcher after close well-wishing person visualization than after well-wishing acquaintance visualization. The low-securely attached participants showed greater emotional openness to the researcher after ecosystem thinking about any well-wishing person than after egosystem thinking.

The key results suggest that some aspects of interpersonal defensiveness among insecurely attached people can be reduced by a shift from an ego- to an ecosystem perspective of thinking about their relationships. In the next research step, it seems espe-cially important to explore whether therapeutic work focusing on ecosystem orientation can overcome the attachment problems in relationships.

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